ZWT - 1882 - R0311 thru R0424 / R0311 (001) - January And February, 1882
(Use your Browser's "Find" or "Search" option to search within this page)
::R311 : page 1::
VOL. III. PITTSBURGH, PA., JANUARY, AND FEBRUARY, 1882. NOS. 7 AND 8.
WITH TABERNACLE SUPPLEMENT.
HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE.
PUBLISHED MONTHLY. 101 Fifth Ave., PITTSBURGH, PA.
C. T. RUSSELL, Editor and Publisher.
The Editor recognizes a responsibility to the Master, relative to what shall appear in these columns, which he can not and does not cast aside; yet he should not be understood as endorsing every expression of correspondents, or of articles selected from other periodicals.
TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION.
TERMS:--Fifty cents a year, postage prepaid. You may send paper-money or three cent stamps to the amount of two dollars by mail at our risk. Larger amounts by Check, P.O. Money Order or Registered Letter, payable to C. T. RUSSELL.
Foreign Postage being higher, our terms to foreign subscribers will be 65 cents a year. Please send us no foreign money or postage stamps as we can make no use of them. Remittances may be made by Postal Money Orders.
N.B.--This paper will be sent free to any of the Lord's poor who will send a card yearly requesting it.
PITTSBURGH CHURCH MEETINGS.
Service held in "Curry Institute Hall," corner Penn avenue and Sixth street, Pittsburgh, at 3:00 o'clock P.M., every Sunday. Every Wednesday evening, at No. 80 Cedar avenue, Allegheny, at 7:30 o'clock P.M. All are cordially invited.
::R311 : page 1::
VIEW FROM THE TOWER.
THE thousands of letters which still continue to come in from all parts, have been greatly increased within the last three weeks, by letters and cards, inquiring about the January number.
We regret the delay of this number, but it was unavoidable. Part of the paper on which the supplement is printed was detained by the railroad blockade: We had a part of it and a part of THE WATCH TOWER printed and could not finish either; nor could we find a paper to match closely enough to substitute. Now that it has come, we hope it will be satisfactory to you all. The supplement is larger than we had at first expected to make it.
The work in general progresses; the interest of old and new readers seems to increase daily. Two new preachers are preparing themselves for the field, Bros. Boyer and Leigh, both are here at present, and with two others are endeavoring to obtain and systematize the Bible teachings, so they can the better present them to others.
Oh that more could realize what a privilege it is, to preach the "glad tidings." The pay is extraordinarily large, but will scarcely allure any but the wholly consecrated. It is as follows, paid regularly--viz.: Trials of faith, of patience, of perseverance, of privations, of forbearance, of forgiveness, of self-sacrifice; these are also sure--plain bread and water, sometimes more. You shall, in all, have a hundred fold more of houses, lands, brothers, sisters, etc., than you gave up to enter the service; and (here comes the grand and glorious part of our wages) in the world (age) to come, eternal life and glory.
Many who receive "calls" for their services at from $2,000 to $10,000 would consider the above a very poor call indeed. But it is a poor call, only to those who look at the dollars which are seen, and not at the glory which is unseen. Ours, is the same "call" that Jesus had to the ministry however--He, (not for ease, comfort, wealth, respectability or honor,) but for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross and despised the shame. It was our call that Peter, Paul, and others received, and they said it was a "High calling," a "Heavenly calling." Let us, like all of these, esteem our calling to suffer for a while, and to be glorified after (`1 Peter 5:10`) a great privilege; and as we draw our wages of shame and reproach daily, let us rejoice that we are accounted worthy to suffer the reproaches for Christ and the words of his testimony, and esteem these greater riches than all earthly things; for while so doing "the spirit of glory and of God resteth on you." (`1 Peter 4:14`.)
Now some are so situated with families dependent on them, that they cannot see their way clear to go forth in the mission work of teaching these glad tidings; and quite a number have expressed regrets, thereat. To such we would say, one talent or one opportunity used to the best of your ability, will as thoroughly demonstrate the degree of your sacrifice as ten could; and we know it to be one of the Lord's ways, to increase the talent and opportunity as we make use of it. Let us see how one talent of ability could be used. You could study and plan the more thoroughly, how these subjects could best be presented privately to your christian neighbors and friends. If you have many talents of ability and only one of opportunity, then try to use it, study how you may say much in few words, pointedly. Deprive yourself of some of the time you spend otherwise, and have a meeting in your room for Bible study on Sunday, and on a week evening. Or call on any fruit bearing consecrated christians you may know of; hand such a tract with a few brief expressions relative to your own view concerning it. Always have three or four charges of such ammunition in your pocket. If you attend any meeting, be sure you make it count for TRUTH if there are any who seem to have "an ear to hear."
But let us remember always, that it is their fear of God which is injuring them, (`Isa. 29:13`) and hinders their coming into the sunshine of his love. We remember that we, (as all, "of this way") first got to see a little of the Love of God, and then we found the entire plan to be "just like him"--Love. "The love of Christ constraineth us." (`2 Cor. 5:14`.)
Love is the lever which will move men's hearts in the Millennial Age, when they will learn of God's love as exhibited in the selection of the "little flock" to bless them; and the love of the "head and body of Christ," whom they persecuted and who suffered patiently, etc.,--yes, that will move where fear will not.
And it is this same mighty lever that must now be used by us, to move all who are running the heavenly race to press with vigor on, and so run as to obtain the prize of our high calling. Then let all be actively engaged in the service-- preaching the TRUTH by act and word--"doing with our might what our hands find to do"--that "so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord." (`2 Pet. 1:11`.) --Thus we may have it true of us-- He or "she hath done WHAT she could," the Lord expects no more: but how few, are doing all they could.
Let us not forget that while we may be deeply interested in doing good to the world, in such ways as preaching temperance, etc., yet that is not our mission now. The injunction is always "Preach the Word;" "Feed the flock;" "Feed my sheep;" "Feed my lambs." Are you a partaker of the Spirit of the Anointed one? If so, remember it was not designed to qualify you for any work except preaching--in some sense, in action or word; as we read: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me (head and body) because he hath anointed me to preach the glad tidings to the meek, etc. (`Isa. 61:1`.)
The fact that what is preached generally is very bad tidings of great misery to more than nine-tenths of the race, makes it the more necessary for those of us who have some knowledge of the "good news" to let it be known; that all hearts may bow before our God and worship, and in truth adore.
Among the many refreshing letters received, we wish you to enjoy with us, the spirit of the following:
AUSTINTOWN, O., Jan. 16, 1882.
DEAR BRO:--The publication entitled, "Food for Thinking Christians," was duly received a few weeks ago, and I have carefully distributed the greater portion of them among such as would appreciate such teachings; and they all speak volumes of praise. It is indeed food for Christians --rich food. Would to God we could only have the whole world read and fully understand. May God bless the work, and may the blessed seed sown sink deep in each and every heart, and bear much fruit to the honor and glory of God.
Please send me a few copies of the Tabernacle and its Teachings, and much oblige. Yours, etc.,
::R312 : page 1::
MIXERVILL, INDIANA, Jan. 14, 1882.
"ZION'S WATCH TOWER"--My dear good friends:--Your kind favor, "Food for Thinking Christians," reached me in due time. To say that it is an exceeding welcome gift but feebly expresses my appreciation and gratitude. I have learned what I never knew before, and it has brought to me such a flood of light that I am amazed at the grandeur of the scheme and plan of redemption. To allow the phrase, I have literally devoured it, and my soul is ravished with the indescribable excellency and magnitude of God's plan of salvation. Oh, how dull and blunted does now appear the common method of Christian instruction. Who can read these things and longer doubt and waver about the truth, beauty, and inspiration of the Bible, or the manner in which its glorious truths should be inculcated and demonstrated. I trust and believe that the great Author of the Word will prosper and bless you abundantly. Whatever else you have of like nature for grateful hearts, I trust you will favor your present correspondent with. At present I am very poor, but have better prospects before me, and when they arrive I will not forget "Zion's Watch Tower." Yours truly,
P.S.--Please send me some "Food" for five friends, and let me know whether a preacher could come here. In truth and gratitude,
__________, KANSAS, Dec., 10, 1881.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I have derived great comfort from the December number of "Watch Tower." What a substantial meal of "strong meat." I have read it nearly all twice over; some of it three and four times. I derived especial comfort from the article entitled, "The Blessed dying." I have always dreaded dying, but if its conclusions are correct (and it at once impressed me so), I think I want to die--anything to be with Christ. The "Creative Week," by W. I. Mann, I thought was especially strong in its conclusions and deductions; shall read it again and study it.
Now, dear brother, perhaps it would be as well to introduce myself. I am a preaching member of the Minnesota Conference of Christian Adventists. I have long been leaning toward the age-to-come views, much as one
::R312 : page 2::
would grope in the dark--seeing much truth in it; but with the light I had, could not make all points harmonize. It remained for your September number of "Watch Tower" to supply the missing link. I am thankful to God for it. I received it (humanly speaking) by the merest accident, but I believe it was sent of God. Now, dear brother, I would like a few copies of "Food for Thinking Christians." I will treat and place each one as though it were pure gold. I want to send one to my brother, a minister, and to others. I am anxious to do all I can. Am very poor, but if God blesses will contribute to your Tract fund. Yours in hope. __________.
DEAR BROTHER:--The books and paper I have received safely, for which accept my sincere thanks. I have received a great deal of profit from the reading of them. God's plan of salvation as seen by the aid of the "true light" (as I firmly believe), is sublime beyond anything of which I have had conception. My heart is overflowing with thankfulness to our Father and Saviour that I have been thought worthy to receive the "good news." I feel as though my experiences were something like Paul's--as one born out of due time. My wife also believes, but does not seem to be able to forget the old teachings so readily as myself. Do you know of any other members of Christ in this neighborhood?
Please put my name on your list of subscribers for the "Watch Tower." Enclosed find one dollar to pay for above and postage on books, etc. 25 cents of the above was the price of a theatre ticket; I should have spent it for that before I received the light; now when I am tempted I shall send the money to you to use in the good cause. Will you kindly advise me in regard to severing my connection with the church of which I am a member. I feel as though I should not attend, because it would be consenting to their teaching, which I do not now believe. I have not really believed it for a long time, but I knew no better way. Now, thank God, it is different. I remain yours in the hope of eternal life. __________.
MEHERRIN DEPOT, VA.,
Dec. 21st, 1881.
DEAR BROTHER:--I am filled with thanks and praise to our heavenly Father for the precious truths received through your paper. I have spent much time in studying the subject of baptism; and just as I came out with my convictions on the subject, the "Watch Tower" came with an article ("Importance of Baptism") expressing my views better than I could. O, how gratifying to see what the real baptism is! Now we can see that "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." But, my dear brother, I would like you to say a little more on one point, viz: If Jesus went into that eternal death of the human for us, why should we be baptized into and go through it for ourselves? __________.
[Answers to your question have been given in former numbers; but a very clear answer will be found in the reading of this month's supplement --"The Tabernacle" tract. We do not die for ourselves; but have fellowship with our Head in the atonement sacrifices for the world. We "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ." `Col. 1:24`. --EDITOR.]
::R312 : page 2::
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, To the Editor "Zion's Watch Tower."
DEAR SIR:--I have perused your little book "Food for Thinking Christians," with very great interest, and also with profit. I am a missionary and divinity student in the last session of my course. I am very desirous of preaching on these glorious themes so well handled in your little volume; and will ever be much indebted to you, if you will supply me with some more copies, say 40. I shall certainly distribute them with judicious care, and sincerely trust they will be much blessed to those who read them. I will also be glad to receive some copies of the "Tabernacle and its Teachings."
I remain, my dear sir, ever yours, most sincerely,
::R312 : page 2::
TRUTH SIFTING IN THE TOWER.
We would like every interested reader to feel that he has an interest in the WATCH TOWER, and that it is our paper: a paper belonging to the Lord and hence to all his children. It is, and we hope will always be conducted, with an eye single to God's glory and hence to the blessing of his children. Like the Bible, it will not discuss questions, but will state what is believed to be truth and nothing else; accepting--The harmony of God's Word--as the definition of truth. No compromising with error to double the circulation; no withholding of truth lest some should be offended. No, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is our motto.
But who shall judge what is truth, and how? This, to every conscientious editor, becomes an important question, but in our own case it is doubly so, because the subjects treated in our columns are, many of them, "new" (`Matt. 13:52`) and "strong meat." We believe our readers are more effectually armed against error, by being instructed in the harmony of God's Word, than by having the columns of the W.T. devoted to the dissecting of all the various forms of error. Let the sunlight in, and the darkness will flee away. And with the plan of God clearly before the mind, the deformity of error is easily discoverable. The Bible, then, is our only standard, by which to test the truth or falsity of any subject.
We will inform our readers what has been our method of sifting truth, that they may know of our carefulness in trying to separate truth from error.
The editor seeks to test his own articles by the Word of God, but every article which appears in the paper, has the special criticism of some one or more of those who are walking in the light. If it be a new point of interpretation, it must have the assent of at least two of those best posted and most conversant with the Scriptures before it shall appear. If not seen by these intelligent and conscientious persons to be truth, it will lie over until such time as it shall be seen either to be truth and published, or error and destroyed.
This rule which we apply to our own writings, we apply to others also, and as a consequence, very many articles are written for our paper which are never seen in it. This stringent rule is not liked by some, who consider it a reflection against their ability, thus proving that their human nature is not yet crucified,--the dead have no reputation to sustain or wound. But to those who are intent only on getting and spreading truth, this rule is generally very agreeable.
We know of no other way to do, and the Lord has seemed to bless this method, for he has fed us richly; and though we stand ready to contradict the statements of any issue when shown to be erroneous, and would feel it both a duty and a privilege to do so, yet to the praise of our Lord's leading the course and teachings of the W.T. for the past three years have been connected, progressive and harmonious. And furthermore, those who are teachers of these things, never saw truth with so clear a vision as to-day, and never were so harmonious in sentiment.
Be not offended then, if your article, should not appear. It is treated with the same loving consideration as all other articles. One dear brother to whom we returned an article with criticisms for re-consideration, in his reply, gave the following quotation: Offended--how could I be? --"Great peace have they who love thy law and nothing shall offend them."
The course which we pursue relative to the dissemination of truth, we commend to our readers--use your time, your means, your influence, for truth, not error. Teach nothing, lend nothing, give nothing--neither book, paper nor tract, by whomsoever published, which you have not carefully examined and feel sure would glorify God.
::R312 : page 2::
We regret to say that the Nov. and Dec. 1881 issues of the TOWER, are all gone. However, the new readers should all have them; therefore we will republish them as soon as possible. All who want them should send a postal card. We published 6,000 of each of those numbers, and at the time, supposed that sufficient.
::R313 : page 2::
Of the present issue, there will be 10,000, which we expect will be sufficient for all requirements. We send the present number to many whose wrappers were marked to stop with last number. This is because, being overcrowded with fresh mails, we had not time to correct all of our list, and to some others, it is sent because of the Supplement, which we hope may be acceptable and profitable to them.
We have plenty of tracts and September numbers, which you can have for free distribution by asking for them. Be discreet in their use, giving only to thinking Christians, so far as you can know, accompanying them with some words of your own. It is better to lend than to give them. Make a list of those to whom you lend, and never let them be idle.
As a supplement, we send you "The Tabernacle and its Teachings," referred to in several previous numbers, and on the back of the pamphlet, FOOD FOR THINKING CHRISTIANS.
Questions and Answers are crowded out of this issue.
::R313 : page 2::
"Z.W.T. TRACT SOCIETY."
This Society was organized less than one year ago, for the object indicated by the name. It is but proper that a statement should now be made at the beginning of the year 1882.
The object of the Society was stated but no requests for help were made. The donations below mentioned, were free-will offerings--some giving until they could feel it. The amounts ranged from one dollar up to thousands.
Total am'ts of cash received, ..$35,391.18 " expenditures in printing,
etc., etc., .............. 35,336.18
---------- Balance in treasury, Jan. ......$ 55.00 Bills coming due, about ........ 400.00
To all whose donations have been over one hundred dollars, we have made special reports, and to any donor the books are always open for inspection.
We propose continuing this fund, and will endeavor to use it prudently as fast as it is received. In fact as will be noticed in the above report, the expenditure generally exceeds the receipts, but a brother who has already contributed largely, guarantees any debts incurred, to the amount of one thousand dollars in excess of receipts.
It is a principle with us, not to allow the Lord's money to rust.
Should the fund increase sufficiently to permit it, we propose using some portion of it for sending out other laborers.
We never solicit donations. Those who possess this world's goods and are wholly consecrated need only to know how they can use it. Donations to this fund should be specified. Address C. T. Russell, Pittsburgh.
An article from Bro. A. D. Jones of the Day Star, relative to "The blessed dying"--in harmony with views presented in our last two issues --is crowded out of this number, but will appear in our next.
Bro. J. requests us to correct an error which occurred in fourth column second page of the last (Dec.) number of the Day Star, viz: "To the division of the land," sixty instead of six years.
We sent samples of the Day Star to about seven thousand names of our list, that they might have opportunity to judge of its merits.
::R313 : page 2::
ALEXANDER AND THE BANKRUPT
It is related of the late Czar of Russia that in answer to the question, "Who is to pay all these?" he wrote --"I, Alexander." It appears that one of his officers had contracted bills which it was impossible for him to pay, and, after contemplating them despairingly, had written the above query at the bottom of the paper, and fallen asleep.
The Czar happened to pass through the room, and, observing the bill and its appended question, generously took the pen and wrote, "I Alexander," and quietly withdrew without disturbing the aid-de-camp. It is easier to imagine than describe the emotions of the debtor, who, on awakening, found all his pecuniary obligations cancelled.
So the sinner looks at his condition and inquires, as the Russian, "Who is to pay all these?" We thank God we can answer that "Jesus paid it all." He was wounded for our transgressions, and by His stripes we are healed.
Jesus writes on our list of sins "I even I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions."
::R313 : page 3::
Perilous times in the world are at hand--
Perils by water and perils by land;
Perils in churches and perils in state,
Perils attending the good and the great.
Watchman, how readest thou touching this hour?
Fearful corruption in places of power;
Presidents, princes and kings in dismay--
Tragic unfoldings the news of the day.
Scriptures prophetic discoursing on time,
Teach us the doctrine of increase of crime;
"Evil seducers shall wax worse and worse,"
Ere the Jehovah shall "smite with a curse."
Is the church powerless to draw from the skies
Help when Goliath their army defies?
Is there no king in the camp of "to-day"?
Is the true Israel "fallen away"?
Is it the sign of the presence of Christ,
Of the Messiah in person to reign?
Has sin attained to its manhood of power?
Is this its zenith? Is morning the hour?
The son of perdition, the god of this world,
Down from his kingdom of sin must be hurled;
Tares must be gathered and burned in the fire--
Type of all christians in name--not in power.
Jesus is come! O let it be known,
Jehovah's anointed, now takes the throne;
He takes the helm and the power to command,
He'll guide affairs on the sea and the land.
Jesus is come! let all the world hear,
"Who's on the Lord's side" let him draw near.
"Come with your armor, your loins girt about";
Come with your trumpets, and join in the shout.
Jerichoes tremble and Sodoms consume,
Kingdoms are tottering before the "Commune";
Davids, go forth with your sling-stones of faith,
Take ye the heads of "the giants of Gath."
::R313 : page 3::
JESUS MADE PERFECT.
"Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." (`Heb. 5:9`.)
Knowledge of both evil and good is essential to a hearty acceptance of the good and invariable rejection of evil. Therefore, we believe that Jehovah has given, and is giving such knowledge to every intelligent creature, both in heaven and on earth.
We see how all of the human family are getting their knowledge by contact and actual experience with sin and its penalty--misery and death. And we believe, as we have previously expressed, that the heavenly creatures--angels and arch-angels, are learning the same lessons by watching man's experiences. Thus mankind in general, and the church in particular, is made a "spectacle to angels." (`1 Cor. 4:9`.)
If we look backward, we see him who as a man was called Jesus, in his pre-human existence, "The beginning of the creation of God"-- The agent and "righteous servant" of Jehovah, in the creation of all that has since been created.
Perfect as a being, as are all of Jehovah's creatures, yet he knew only good--had never experienced evil, nor witnessed its effects. Later, after angels and arch-angels had been created he witnessed the apostasy and rebellion on the part of Satan and his host, then the setting up of the rival spiritual kingdom defying the
::R314 : page 3::
power of Jehovah to overthrow it, and offering freedom from all restraints and from all obedience to God, to those who would join them.
Though the law of God was "The wages of sin is death and the soul (being) that sinneth, it shall die-- yet the execution of that sentence tarried and no evidence of his power to enforce it, was given, and even yet, though he declares that Satan shall, be destroyed, we see it not accomplished. How for ages he has seemed to triumph over Jehovah, his influence even reaching the intelligent creatures of earth, beguiling and alluring them into sin and consigning them to death. What a test of faith in, and love for Jehovah, was this spectacle! For hundreds and thousands of years they must walk by faith in the power of Jehovah to accomplish the destruction of evil doers, and reward the patient fidelity of the loyal and obedient.
Let us now in thought stand side by side with Jesus when tempted by Satan and imagine the trial of faith, he endured, for we believe that he, as we, walked by faith and not by sight. He had witnessed Jehovah's works of creation and preservation; he had marked the wise and loving benevolence that adapted competent means to glorious ends, and such was the strength of love and unbounded confidence awakened by this general knowledge of Jehovah's character, that he did not for a moment hesitate to submit all he had, even life itself, to his will, for the accomplishment of his purposes. The language of his obedient faith was "Though he slay me yet will I trust in him."
So he submitted to the Father's will to accomplish the work of redeeming mankind by exchanging his glorious body and heavenly honors for the form and the nature of man, that by so doing he might be obedient unto death--even the death of the cross, and thus become a ransom for man. All this he did by faith, for he had never yet seen any being restored from the death condition into which he volunteered to go, trusting alone in God's ability as promised, to restore him to a higher form of life, and through him to restore humanity to its perfection.
But when he had become a man, Satan again appeared to tempt him sorely, and we might thus paraphrase the temptation: Ah, says he, how unwise you have been; once you were greater than me, now I am your superior --a powerful spiritual being, while you have become a man--"lower than the angels." How absurd to let Jehovah thus degrade you. True, he has made great promises and greatly boasts of his power to execute them, but he cannot. I have the power of death (`Heb. 2:14`.) and the human race are all subject to my "power" and never has Jehovah been able to liberate even one from death, nor destroy me as he threatened. Now, let me, as your friend, counsel you wisely: Since you have so unwisely forfeited your higher form of life, so that you may never regain it, don't give up, but keep the life you now have. If you die you never shall live again, neither will you be able to liberate mankind from death.
Why should you waste it in a fruitless effort for this race?
If you are the Son of God command that these stones be made bread (`Matt. 4:3`)--use your power for self-gratification and preservation, and don't present your body a living sacrifice, dying daily, when you have a perfect right to life. Jesus answers "Man shall not live by bread alone," I could not enjoy life, even with all my wants supplied, out of communion with my Father.
Your trust in Jehovah is misplaced; first prove Him and see if he will keep his word. Cast yourself down from this pinnacle of the temple--it is written, "He shall give his angels charge concerning thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone."
Jesus replied: "It is written, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." We may not thus test the Almighty by needless exposure.
Then Satan showed Jesus the kingdoms and honors of earth, saying: I am the "Prince of this world." (`John 14:30`.) All the kingdoms of earth are under my control; you long for power yourself to do good to mankind; now, I propose that you shall be my representative in the world and rule all these kingdoms. I will put all under your control, if you will yield allegiance to me. You will be great indeed, for you are a perfect man, while all others are imperfect, and you can live forever. Since your life is not forfeited, no one can take it from you. You can thus be Lord of lords and King of kings; to bless mankind throughout all generations. All this power you can have without suffering and you can enter upon the work of blessing at once. And by your wise and prudent ruling, you can greatly elevate and benefit them while they live, whereas, if you die, you simply waste your life and benefit no one.
But Jesus again replies--No matter what inducements you may offer, I will yield allegiance to none but Jehovah--It is written, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve." Thus, his faith in Jehovah's power and promise was tested beyond our power to comprehend; but faith founded on the knowledge of Jehovah's character triumphed --"By his knowledge, shall my righteous servant justify many." By lack of that knowledge of God, Adam fell into transgression while through his knowledge, Jesus remained the righteous servant--therefore, able to justify many.
By faith, he consecrated; by faith, he resisted all temptation; by faith, he endured the self-sacrifice even unto death, as a reward for which he was made perfect as a divine being --the first-born into the divine family.
Thus in Jesus' case faith ended in fruition of that which Jehovah had promised, and being thus perfected-- "exalted," as a divine being--"he is the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him."
Hence the author and finisher of our faith is he who was made divinely perfect, through the sufferings of the sinless human nature even unto death. (`Heb. 12:2`.)
This agrees with `Phil. 2:8-11`, where Paul declares that Jesus "being found in fashion as a man, (30 years old) humbled (sacrificed himself during 3-1/2 years) and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore, God also HATH HIGHLY EXALTED HIM [to Glory--IMMORTALITY --DIVINITY--], and given him a name above every name... that every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God, the Father.
As with the leader and forerunner so with the disciples: We are being made perfect through sufferings yet not the flesh (or human nature) is being perfected but our new nature. The outward man perishes but the inward man is renewed day by day until in our resurrection or change we shall be "raised spiritual" like unto Christ's glorious body--made perfect.
::R314 : page 3::
THE JEWISH SABBATH.
Because seven was so intimately connected with all God's works and plans, and because he intended all his works to culminate in perfection, therefore, when he selected Israel as a typical people, he gave them several Sabbaths or rests which shadowed certain blessings of rest in future, and as was His method, he used seven to represent that coming perfection of rest.
Hence, we find in their Law, a number of Sabbaths. The seventh day and its cycle of seven times seven days or forty-nine days, reached and pointed to the fiftieth or Jubilee day, the day of Pentecost. So they had year Sabbaths; every seventh year was a Sabbath year to the land, during which it rested. The cycle of the year Sabbaths was seven times seven or forty-nine years, reaching and pointing to the fiftieth or Jubilee year. Thus we see the Sabbaths and their cycles to have been--
The 7th day; 7 x 7 = 49 bringing the 50th or Jubilee day--Pentecost.
The 7th year; 7 x 7 = 49 bringing the 50th or Jubilee year.
Now, these things they did, in a shadowy or typical sense and did not discern the meaning of the types. But as the Apostles declare, these things were done and written before for our (the gospel church's) edification; that we might understand and locate the real Sabbaths by examining the types. Types are not to last forever, but must cease when the antitype has come.
Now, our claim is, that all these typical Law Sabbaths ceased, at or before the death of Jesus, who made an end of the Law which commanded the types. None of these types were commanded before the giving of the Law to Israel at Sinai (`Deut. 5:3-23`) and they were all done away when Jesus "made an end of the Law, nailing it to his cross." (`Col. 2:14`)
The year Sabbaths as types ceased first; they ceased at the Babylonian captivity, and there the great cycle of fifty times fifty years commenced, which reached to the anti-typical or real Jubilee time, the Millennial age--"Times of restitution of all things." This cycle carried us 1874 years into the Christian era, and showed us when the work of restitution was due to begin--beginning by breaking in pieces and removing the rubbish of error and bad government, preparing for the blessings of all the families of the earth.
The typical day Sabbaths, did not pass away for long years afterward;
::R315 : page 3::
it was part of the Law when Jesus was in the flesh, and every feature of the Law was duly kept by him. It then must have been a one part of the Law, which ended at the Cross. Now, if the type ended there, the anti-type must have come, and if we can find an anti-type in place of the type, we shall have conclusive proof of the end of the type to support Paul's statement, that "Christ made an end of the Law."
Let us look for the anti-type: Israel was commanded to count from the morrow after the (Passover) Sabbath. There we begin to count the cycle of seven times seven days which would bring us to the real Sabbath (rest) typified by their day Sabbaths. You know how Jesus rose from death on the morning after the Passover Sabbath, and counting fifty days it brings us to Pentecost day. Jesus was with the disciples forty of these days, and then as he had commanded, they waited for the blessing of Pentecost, viz: the outpouring of the Holy Spirit--that sealing of the Spirit, or witness of the acceptance by the Father, gave the rest (Sabbath) of faith.
There then, the disciples entered
::R315 : page 4::
into a rest of faith, of which the seventh day was but an imperfect type-- a rest not of one day in the week, but of all days. As Jews they had scrupulously observed the seventh day as a rest day; no work, of any sort must be done in it. Yet they were in a condition of unrest, for though they kept this one feature of the Law, many others they could not keep and Jesus had said that the failure in keeping one point constituted the person a breaker of the Law, and consequently none of them ever kept the Law, but Jesus only. So they were in a condition of unrest actually and hence Jesus addressed himself to all such, saying "Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden (trying to do a thing impossible to you, as members of a fallen race, viz: to keep the perfect Law of God)--I will give you rest." (Sabbath means rest. (`Matt. 11:28`.) While with them, Jesus did not give them the rest, but, he like them, observed the type as was necessary until it was "finished" on the cross. And after his resurrection he did not give them the promised rest, but told them to tarry until they should receive the Comforter--the evidence of their acceptance as Sons of Jehovah. When thus sealed by the Spirit, it was the evidence of the truth of all Jesus promised, the witness of their adoption to the divine family.
This same rest or Sabbath is the privilege of every true child of God ever since, "We that believe do enter into rest." (`Heb. 4:3`.)
But no one can enter into a full rest of faith, who does not realize Christ as the end of the Law to every one who believeth. (`Rom. 10:4`.) To all such, love is the fulfilling of the law. Love to God will produce a spirit of obedience, so that we will do so as far as able, those things which are well pleasing in his sight; even so far as the crucifixion of the flesh with its affections and desires. Thus, "Love is the fulfilling of the Law." (`Rom. 13:10`.) Thus "The righteousness (or spirit) of the Law is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit."
We may rest if we require it, on the seventh or first or any other day and be blameless; but if we observe any of these days in an attempt to keep the law given to Israel (`Gal. 5:4`) but never given to the Gentiles nor to Christians, and fulfilled and ended in the person of Jesus, even so far as it applied to Israel--has failed to fully appreciate the value of Christ's finished work, and failed to appreciate his standing as a son, not under the written law which was given to the house of servants.
Such as are seeking to commend themselves to God by works of the Law, are not resting but working, for as Paul says--"He that is entered into rest has ceased from his own works as God did (rest) from his." (`Heb. 4:10`.) God rested from his works and committed it all to the Son, and we, if we would rest, must cease from our works--cease from the law and accept of its legal fulfilment as being accomplished once for all in our representative, Jesus.
When we realize that even were we Israelites, we are no longer condemned, but justified by that Law, Jesus having ransomed all who were under it; and, that as new creatures in Christ, we are under only the "Law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus," viz: Love. Now we rest well pleased to have it so; and to enjoy this real antitypical rest (Sabbath) which Christ gives to the house of sons, rather than the type of it given to the house of servants. Thus, by letting Christ do it, we rest from our own works as God did from his. [As shown in last issue, God rests since his creation of man and "has committed all judgment (ruling and administration of earth) unto the son." "The Father worketh hitherto, and (now) I work," said Jesus.]
There remaineth a rest [Sabbath] for the people of God--when we enter fully into all the blessings promised; but let us not only look forward to it, with joy, but endeavor to use and enjoy the earnest of our inheritance; the sample of our coming rest which is now our privilege. "Come unto me and I will give you rest." "They that believe do enter into rest."
We are glad that by common consent some one day in the week is generally observed as a day for rest from worldly toil. The day generally observed--the first day of the week--we regard as especially fitting and appropriate, because on the first day of the week, Jesus, our Lord, arose from death--and on the first day came the Holy Spirit upon the church in the upper room (Pentecost). Concerning the name of this day, whether it be called "Sunday," "The first-day," "The Sabbath day," or "The Lord's day," we care little. At most they are only names, though our preference would rather incline to the latter. Our objection to calling it a Sabbath or rest day being, first, that to the fleshly Israel, God called the seventh day the Sabbath, and there is a liability to confusion of thoughts, and a mistaking of the servants' law for the liberty or privilege of the Sons of God. Secondly, with most of christians, the first day of the week is the one on which they work the most and hardest, and consequently it could not appropriately be termed a rest or Sabbath.
We much regret, that even among thinking christians, the "Lord's day" and its privileges are so little understood and appreciated. To most of them, its observance is but the keeping of the fourth command of the Law though they well know that the Law reads "The seventh day is the Sabbath," and that the day they observe is the first. For the ignorance and superstition and legal dread of the Lord's day, the clergy is largely to blame. Many of them doubtless fear that if recognized as a privilege, and not as a law, it would be violated. But the fear of man always gets us into a snare of the devil, and so this fear has borne much poisonous fruit in the church, for it has helped to put christians under the Law of Moses, instead of under that of Christ-- "Love," and thus has deprived many of entering into rest. It would be far better that christians should be resting fully in Christ and free from the Law--standing fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made them free (`Gal. 5:1`.) both on this and other subjects, though the preaching of the truth on the subject had left the world at liberty to disregard the "Lord's day." This age we must remember is especially designed for the preparation of the body or Bride of Christ, that when they are united or made one with him, now in the end of this age, the world may believe during the incoming age.
::R315 : page 4::
SON OF GOD.
There seem to be different senses in which God is a Father; or he is a Father of his creatures, on different planes. But there is no mother, on either plane. As the Creator of Angels and men, he is their Father, and they his sons, though on different planes.
That the Angels (Spiritual beings) are called sons of God, seems evident from several statements; for instance --`Job 1:6` and `2:1`; There was a day when the Sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.
Also `Job 38:7`. When the morning stars sang together, and all the Sons of God shouted for joy. Man is also a Son of God by creation. `Luke 3:38` says, Adam was a Son of God.
Then there is a higher sense in which some are to become sons, not only on the spiritual plane, but immortal sons. Those, who present their bodies a living sacrifice, and thus suffer with Christ, are made partakers of the divine nature, and will be made in the express image of God's person--`Heb. 1:3`. The body of their humiliation changed, and fashioned like Christ's glorious body. `Phil. 3:21`. Has not the Son of God, been a Son, successively, in all of the three senses?
It would seem that he appeared to Abraham, vailed as a man, when the three men came to him in the heat of the day; `Gen. 18:1,13,22`; that he was with three Hebrews in the fiery furnace--`Dan. 3:25`; and Daniel saw him as a spiritual being, and fell as a dead man. `Dan. 10`. Unquestionably he was the beginning of the Creation, of God in his pre-existent state, whatever application may be made of `Rev. 3:14`.
::R316 : page 4::
In due time he was born of a woman, and became a man; and was a son of God, as the first Adam-- man--, was a son, as seems clear from `Luke 1:35`.
On that plane he was the second son; and gave himself a ransom for the first. The first man's disobedience and death involved the whole human family in a state of death; the second man's obedience unto death, secured for the same family justification to life--the same life that was lost. God sending his own son-- son before he came--in the likeness of sinful flesh etc. `Rom. 8:3`.
The blood of Jesus Christ, his son --son after he came--cleanseth us from all sin. `1 Jno. 1:7`.
Let us examine `Phil. 2:5`, on, in the light of the new Revision, text, and marginal reading by the American Committee.
Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus: who existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God, a thing to be grasped; but emptied himself, taking the form of a bond servant, becoming in the likeness of men, etc.
Here is certainly a clear statement of his pre-existence in God's form,-- a spiritual being; yet not equal with him; and of a change of condition from a spiritual to a human being. He certainly was not immortal in either of these phases of his existence. If he had been, as a spiritual being, he could not have become a man; and as a man, he could not have died; but being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, yea, the death of the cross.
Wherefore--because of this--God highly exalted him, and gave him a name-position and condition--which is above every name. He could not "grasp" it himself, but God exalted him; raised him from the dead, and now he is the express image of his Father's person, or, being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purifications of sins--by his death,--sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high; having become, by so much, better than the angels, as he hath inherited a more excellent name than they. `Heb. 1:3,4`.
Does not Paul have in mind these three phases or planes of sonship in `Rom. 1:3,4`? Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, which he promised afore by his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh; who was declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead.
Though we may not be able to explain all the mystery, yet it seems that on the last two planes, there was a begetting and birth. Now the birth of Jesus--the man--was on this wise; Mary...was found with child of the Holy Spirit--power of God--... that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; and she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. `Matt. 1:18-21`.
Again in `Luke 1:35`. And the Angel answered and said unto her; The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; wherefore, also that which is to be born shall be called holy, the Son of God. Out of Egypt I did call my Son. `Luke 2:15`. He grew in favor with God and man, and at the age of thirty, he made a covenant of death and expressed it by baptism; when the Holy Spirit came upon him. Through that Spirit he offered himself--his human nature and body--without spot to God--`Heb. 9:14`.--; and it became the germ of a new nature so when he was put to death in the flesh, he was made alive by the Spirit--`1 Pet. 3:18`; and became a quickening--life giving Spirit. `1 Cor. 15:45`. The perfect natural man was crowned with glory and honor, `Heb. 2:7`, and lost it; but Jesus came to restore him. So he was crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God, he should taste of death for every man --`Heb. 2:9`; which shows that he did not take our fallen nature. And the word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.
Was it the only begotten on the spiritual plane who died? We would say on the earthly.
The man Christ gave himself a ransom for all. `1 Tim. 2:5,6`. Because he gave his human nature, his heavenly Father gave him the divine nature --because he gave his earthly body, God gave him a spiritual body. God gives to every seed its own body, as it hath pleased him. `1 Cor. 15:38`.
He does with all who present their bodies a living sacrifice, as he did with Jesus. Having suffered with him, even unto death, they will be glorified with him, to become his body; the fullness or full development of him who is filling all things with all--`Eph. 1:23`. In brief, this completed Christ, having died and lived again, becomes Lord--`Rom. 14:9`;
::R316 : page 5::
or Agelasting Father of the human family restored, by the "better sacrifice,"--`Heb. 9:23`, to the original condition of sons. These restored sons, instead of being required to sacrifice the human, to become partakers of the divine nature; are given each a hundred years to fully develop the human. `Isa. 65`.
B. W. KEITH.
::R316 : page 5::
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together...and so much the more as ye see the day approaching." (`Heb. 10:25`.)
The necessity for the assembling together for mutual edification, encouragement and strengthening, has been very generally acknowledged among christians, yet we doubt if this most desirable end is very frequently attained--and why? Because we think, in most cases, God is not permitted to speak, among them, or if so, he is limited.
These assemblings together, oftenest take the form of prayer and experience meetings, unless there is one of the number who is able to preach, and then the tendency is to depend upon that one, to a greater extent than is profitable.
The writer attended one of these experience meetings among those professing the higher life, where God was almost shut out, and poor weak humanity, ignorant of its weakness as it always is, had abundant opportunity to boast itself. At the beginning of the meeting, one text of scripture was read, the context of which, all were ignorant of, and consequently its true application could not be understood. The dear old book was closed and reverently laid aside and a prayer was offered, after which, one after another told how he or she felt and acted. One lady told how she, before rising in the morning, received her morsel of food (a single text of scripture) on which she fed all day. How many do so--taking a text that happens to be stored in memory, often interpreting it out of all harmony with the context because they fail to examine it closely, taking a little crumb of comfort, when the Lord has spread his bountiful table and invited them to feast at it.
Nearly two hours passed and the human spirit had magnified itself greatly, while the holy spirit (God-like mind) of the "new creatures," (for such I believe they were) was almost quenched. A brother seemed to perceive that something was wrong, and said "What these meetings want is more prayer," and then proceeded to pray for every thing he could think of, ignorant of the fact that he asked for many things in direct opposition to God's expressed will. And so the meeting closed without attaining the object for which they met, because God was shut out.
Again, at another of these meetings, one hungry sister ventured to ask information with reference to a certain scripture, and was told that lest it should provoke controversy, and since they wished to have harmony, they would just pass over that, and so she was left unfed.
Now is this right--shall we sell the truth to purchase harmony--and are we so puffed up as to be offended if God's word should overthrow our former convictions? Or shall we limit God to five or ten minutes and take the remainder of two hours to listen to each others experiences, which in nine cases out of ten, would be better untold? Why not open the doors wide and let the blessed Master come in and lead our meetings?
It matters not whether there is any one learned or talented among you. Let each one bring his own Bible, paper, and pencil, and avail yourselves of as many helps in the way of a Concordance, Em. Diaglott, old and new versions of the New Testament, etc., as possible. Choose your subject; ask for the Spirit's guidance in the understanding of it; then read, think, compare scripture with scripture, and you will assuredly be guided into truth. "And the truth shall make you free"--free from error, superstition, and the corruption of our perverse nature, and the Holy Spirit (mind of God and Christ) if entertained will liberate you from formality, as well as from self-exaltation.
Our prayers need not be long--or vain repetitions of the same thing, since we are not heard for our much speaking. In few and simple words,
::R317 : page 5::
we can make known our wants as far as we can estimate them; but God has so much more to tell us than we have to tell him. Let him speak, much and long and often--through his WORD. "Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth," was Jesus' prayer, and his admonition, "Search the Scriptures for these are they that testify of me." (`John 17:17` and `5:39`.) So will we learn to delight ourselves in God's Law; it will be our meditation by night and by day. (`Psa. 119:97`.) So also will he work in us to will and to do of his good pleasure. (`Phil. 2:13`.)
::R317 : page 5::
CONSECRATION TO A WORK.
Among Christians there is much which passes for "entire consecration," but it is often a consecration to some self-imposed task, or work, instead of to God.
Some are consecrated and are living sacrifices to business, some to their families, some to the temperance work, some to building up a denominational church or Sunday School, some to ministering to the poor and the sick. These are each good enough in their way, but none of these are the proper consecration for a follower of Jesus.
Our consecration, like that of Jesus, should be to do the will of our Father in Heaven. Jesus says he came not to do his own will, but the will of Him that sent him. (`John 6:38`) The fact that you have any choice or preference as to what you shall do, is an evidence in itself, that your will is not dead.
Consecration to a work of our own choosing merely, will never bring us to the great reward. "I beseech you brethren, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable UNTO GOD." Then, if He sends you into the "temperance work," or into any other work, it will be acceptable as unto the Lord.
If will less, and seeking only to do his will it will bring us to His Word much and often, to learn that will, and "He that seeketh findeth." We leave the subject here, merely suggesting that thus seeking after, thus consecrating, some who are now--laboring chiefly for "the meat that perisheth" or Temperance and moral reforms in the world, or for the extension of sectarian church influence, would find directions something like the following:
This is the will of God even YOUR sanctification. (`1 Thes. 4:3`.) Do "good unto all men [in any way] as you have opportunity especially to the household of faith." (`Gal. 6:10`.) "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together" (`Heb. 10:25`.) but meet for the purpose of "BUILDING UP YOURSELVES on your most holy faith." (`Jude 20`.)
::R317 : page 5::
The following letter received recently was handed to Sister Russell for answering, and as the points might interest others, we publish.
Sent you a card which you will receive before you see this. Wished to ask several questions. I am interested in your paper, am a thinking Christian, but not settled in my views, seeking MORE LIGHT. Are we to expect revivals and the conversion of sinners now? Are we to labor for this result? Is the church coming up higher? Are we to come out of the church, take our name off church books, or remain in the church and labor to bring the rest upon the higher plain; or is each individual to be fully persuaded in his own mind and act according to his conscience? Shall I tell my sisters of like faith, better come out from among them nominally? In spirit, I am far from the majority--this I have called "coming out from among them. I want to be right. Will you take the trouble to answer "the thinking Christian's questions? Please be plain. Many are inquiring. What shall I tell them? I may read your letter (should you write one) to others.
My husband is a Methodist minister. Not preaching this year however.
Tell me plain truth, fear not.
DEAR SISTER:--Your letter is at hand, many such show us that there are very many hungry, thinking christians. Our love and sympathy reach out to all such though we have never met face to face, and we call them brother and sister because we see in them the family likeness--the spirit of Christ.
You ask if we may expect revivals of religion in the nominal church. No, we do not look for any evidence whatever of God's favor to this last phase of the nominal Gospel church which is spewed out of his mouth, because in her own estimation, she is rich and increased in goods (both spiritual and temporal) and has need of nothing. See how perfectly the picture of the church of to-day is drawn in `Rev. 3:14,18`. That mixed condition of worldliness and lukewarm christianity we believe to be the Babylon (confusion) of `Rev. 18:2`, out of which (`vs. 4`) the Lord calls the few of his own who still remain in that city doomed to destruction. There will probably be some accessions to their membership, but mainly from the Sunday Schools--the church is straining every effort to keep up appearances and urging immature childhood to join its ranks and swell its numbers. But this is not making christians as we understand the word. Christians are those who have consecrated themselves to the Lord--agree to follow Jesus' footsteps in the crucifying of the flesh (the human privileges and honors, etc.)
All others than the true wheat brought in, help to swell the numbers of the tares. Tares are not wicked people necessarily (though some are wicked) but people who are out of place in the church--imitating christians in some respects as tares imitate wheat. Those who get such into the church nominal, do an injury both to the person and to the church. The church is injured by getting a lifeless member to absorb its vitality, and who as a representative will serve to lower the standard of christianity.
The individual is injured by being told that he is a christian when he is not, and thus is worse off than if aware of his own position.
Surely, then, many people who engage in this improper work, some of whom, if not all, think they are doing God service, must be mistaken. And this work has been going on for years so that much of the wheat has been almost choked with tares. It is not God's work but Satan's. The tares do an injury to the church, and Satan was instrumental (using God's children as his instruments) in getting them into the church to work the havoc they have. "He that sowed the tares is the devil," (`Matt. 13`,) no matter who was willing or unwittingly the instrument, (`vs. 21`).
With this, I will mail a June No. of ZION'S WATCH TOWER, the first article of which ("He on the housetop") will more thoroughly answer your question with reference to coming out of Babylon. It is of no use, to remain there trying to prop an organization which God has doomed to destruction: Better far, to trust his judgment with reference to expediency and promptly obey his command as soon as he makes it clear. The Lord loves prompt obedience, and then it is a great advantage, as it gives no opportunity to confer with flesh and blood.
Since we are in the "harvest" of the age, the work to be done is harvest work: The great work of the present is to help to ripen and gather into the barn-condition of safety, the true wheat. We would "do good to all men especially to the household of faith"--But if we find enough of this special work to keep our time fully occupied, we have no occasion whatever to worry about the rest of the world; for in God's "due time," they shall all be brought to a knowledge of the truth "and a full, fair opportunity to gain eternal life, and though they may first die (in Adam) the ransom price entitles them to a restoration from the Adamic death, and an opportunity to escape the second death by obedience to the law of God written in their hearts, no more stony but fleshly. (`Jer. 31:33`.) Then, instead of being prone to do evil as the sparks to fly upward, it will be the reverse--easy and natural to obey when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth, and when the Lord rules instead of Satan.
Knowing God's glorious purposes for the world, Jesus let the Gentiles alone and devoted his time entirely to the harvesting of the Jewish church. Though Gentiles as well as Jews were constantly going down in death, he did not try to save them then, knowing it was not yet God's due time.
I am glad to know that in spirit you are separate from the nominal church; I think all of God's true children are. They see the effects, but they do not understand the cause of the loss of God's favor to her. "Woe to those who are at ease in Zion;" but the Lord will "comfort all that mourn in Zion." When? Isaiah says her condition shall be a vexation to such, only till he makes
::R318 : page 5::
them to understand the doctrine--or the plan of God. And his plan is now being made clear to those who can rest their faith on a "thus saith the Lord," ignoring entirely the traditions of men.
::R318 : page 6::
In coming out there are many sacrifices to be made, and you especially will find it so. A minister in our city said: Bro. R., I believe these things are true, but it would not be prudent to preach them. Husband replied, I would fear to be too prudent in this matter since the Lord "hides things from the wise and prudent." That minister had a large family well supported by a fashionable, worldly congregation who did not want to be disturbed in their sleep. He ventured to preach a little of what he believed and they told him it would not do; and to-day he is hiding his light under a bushel, or rather, it has gone out and he is walking on, hand in hand with the world, flourishing in worldly affairs; yet who can estimate that poverty in spiritual things?
You may be called upon to sacrifice your present means of living, but fear not, the Lord will provide another. No man hath forsaken all to follow Jesus, who did not receive a hundred-fold in return. It was refreshing to read that sentence in your letter--"Tell me plain truth, fear not." I could tell you much more than I have time to write at present. The Lord has so wonderfully led me from darkness to light, and from husks to corn, that my heart is filled with his praise.
The great sacrifice necessary, has kept the majority of ministers from the truth, but thank God, there is some ripe wheat among them, not choked by the tares. May God's grace be sufficient for you and your dear husband.
Your Sister in hope,
MRS. C. T. RUSSELL.
::R318 : page 6::
THE BEAST AND HIS IMAGE.
READER:--To properly appreciate the following, you should read and have clearly in mind, the articles in our last issue, (Dec. 1881,) headed: "The Antichrist" and "The Counterfeit of the Kingdom of God."
B. I am here again Bro. A., anxious to pursue the investigation of Revelation Chap. xiii., as you suggested at our last meeting. I have long felt a deep interest in this chapter, and especially because other scriptures refer to the beast and image here described, and say that the overcomers get a victory over the Beast and Image and the number of his name. My difficulty has been that not understanding the significance of these symbols, I could not know whether I had gotten a victory over them or not. I shall give earnest heed and endeavor to weigh your arguments by the Word of God only, and not by the "traditions of the Fathers."
A. That is the only proper way to study Scripture. We should come to it believing that "It (and it alone) is able to make us wise," (`2 Tim. 3:15`,) and it is this class who shall understand. Daniel said--In the time of the end many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased, and the wise shall understand. To rightly understand how it is that certain parts of truth could be hid from all past ages, and yet be due to be understood by us now, we should remember, that God's Word is a great treasure house in which he has hid in past time, all knowledge needful to his children in all ages. It is a great storehouse from which his servants may bring forth things both new and old--meat in due season for the household of faith. (`Matt. 24:45`.) It is because this truth is generally overlooked or disregarded, that so many of the Lord's saints go to old musty volumes of the traditions of the Fathers, instead of going to the fountain of living truths--The Bible.
B. When we look at it, this is very dishonoring to the words of Jesus which he puts on a par with himself saying, "Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words...of him also shall the son of man be ashamed when he cometh in the glory of his Father." (`Mark 8:38`.) It dishonors the Father also, for Jesus said that his spirit would guide us into all truth and show us things to come. (`John 16:13`.)
A. Let us then commence: I will use the "Emphatic Diaglott" translation as it is so much more clear; then you can have the benefit of both versions.
Let me first lay down a simple rule for interpreting some symbols found in this chapter. Dragon--civil power, Pagan Rome; Heavens--the higher or ruling powers; Earth--the people under, or obedient to the ruling powers (heavens); Sea--the general masses of mankind, not under religious restraint.
The `first two verses of this chapter`, direct our attention to the Dragon which in the `preceding chapter` we found to symbolize the Roman Empire; the same which Daniel saw in vision called the "fourth beast dreadful and terrible" (`Dan. 7:7`.) This dragon passed its dominion over to a beast which arose out of the sea--a government which came up from among the irreligious masses; in other words the Roman Empire passed under a new rulership--The Leopard Beast--whose mouth was lion like, its body leopard like, and its feet bear like. This beast which came into possession of the Dragon's seat and power, we understand to be Papacy: it corresponds to the "man child" of the preceding chapter. It has certain qualities which resemble the first three beasts of `Daniel 7`, viz: the Lion, Bear and Leopard--described as representing Babylon, Persia, and Greece. This new Beast then, would combine certain leading characteristics of the preceding empires and unite them in the power of the last--the Roman.
Babylon was celebrated for its splendor and its pride--the Lion the king or ruler of all beasts--so Papacy had a mouth of this sort, i.e., it claimed to be the kingdom over all kingdoms by divine right--the kingdom of God, which was to break in pieces and consume all others--a strong mouth.
The bear's feet suggest another of Papacy's peculiarities as an empire-- viz: persistency. Like the Bear Empire (Medo Persia) which would besiege for years, and even turn a river aside from its channel to accomplish its ends; so Papacy moves cautiously, and gets possession of kingdoms rather by strategy than by battle. This same quality is illustrated in the bear; it hugs its prey to death with its paws.
The body of the Papal beast was like a Leopard. The Leopard was the third beast seen by Daniel--viz: Grecia. Greece was noted as the centre of learning, piety and wisdom (`Acts 17:23`): so Papacy's chief claim, to be the ruler of all kingdoms, is based on the claim that it is the centre of wisdom, learning and piety. Other peculiarities of the Leopard are its activity, vigilance and secretiveness; so with Papacy. Again, a Leopard is spotted irregularly, so too Papacy's policy varies in various parts of the earth: In enlightened liberal countries it is liberal, in other places it varies in its rulings to suit the circumstances.
This Leopard beast (Ecclesiastical Empire) is given the power, seat, and great authority of the [Dragon] Pagan Roman Empire, and for a time becomes the only representative of that dominion--the various horns (kingdoms) rendering allegiance and support to it.*
"And the whole world wondered, after the beast, and they worshiped the Dragon because he gave the authority to the BEAST, saying, "Who is like unto the BEAST, and who is able to make war with him?" (`Vs. 3,4`.)
The people respected this BEAST because of its peculiarities--leopard body and lion mouth--and they respected the civil power all the more, because it had so honored ecclesiastical authority. The various kingdoms (horns) soon learned that their hold of power over the people was strengthened, rather than weakened by allegiance to Papacy, for Papacy in turn recognized them and commanded the people to recognize those despots as of divine appointment.
Thus it is, that to this day, the rulers of Europe claim to rule by divine right and appointment and their children after them, no matter how incapable. For the same reason the protestant churches of Europe, to gain national favor, protection, and assistance, became State churches and they, as Papacy did, recognize the reigning families as possessed of Divine title to the office, and rulership of the people. [God's Word on the contrary, denounces all the governments of earth, as selfish, oppressive, and beastly, and recognizes only one kingdom as being of God's appointment, viz: the kingdom soon to be established in all the earth--Christ and his saints IN GLORY. (`Danl. 7:27`. `Rev. 11:15`. `2 Tim. 2:12`.) It is in that kingdom only that the saints have their citizenship--it alone they recognize and for it pray "Thy kingdom COME."
B. But Bro. A., has not the reign of that kingdom in some sense commenced? Do we not add in the same prayer Thine is the kingdom, etc.? (`Matt. 5:13`, `Luke 11:4`.)
A. No Brother, this is the time to suffer ignominy with him at the hands of the World, as a test of our worthiness to reign with him when he shall take (use) his great power and reign. It is not until about the close of the Seventh Trumpet's sounding, that the kingdoms of earth become the kingdoms of our Lord and his anointed (body--church). Then you know, we are told they will be angry and his wrath must first come before they are obedient. (`Rev. 11:18`.) These are so deceived by this false teaching of Papacy, still continued to some extent, by all of the reformation churches, that it naturally
*It should be remembered that the church of Rome consists only of the clergy--the Pope, the "Father" and all Bishops, Priests, Monks, etc., "brothers."
::R319 : page 6::
makes both people and rulers angry, to intimate that the Devil is the prince of these governments. (`Eph. 2:2`.) Certainly many of their deeds are worthy of such a diabolical head.
As to your quotation from the Lord's prayer, "Thine is the kingdom, etc.," you should remember that we found that to be an addition made to the original prayer during Papacy's rule. It is lacking in all ancient copies of the N.T. and is properly omitted in the new revision. No Brother, nothing in God's Word countenances the idea that these oppressive governments are God's, nor recognized by him except as parts of evil--to be wiped out by the exaltation of the real Christ, head and body, glorious spiritual beings, to the Ecclesiastical dominion which for several hundred years was counterfeited by Papacy--the chief Antichrist.
But to return to the subject: The people respected the BEAST saying: "Who is able to make war with him? --who would be able to withstand the withering curse of Papacy, the spiritual empire?
"And there was given him a mouth (Lion-like--strong--terrible utterance) speaking great and blasphemous things;" [The utterances we examined at our last interview, as you will recall.--Dec. '81.] "and authority was given him to act forty-two months." (`Vs. 5`.) This permission we understand to have been--to execute and put to death saints of God, which it called "heretics." These 42 symbolic months, or 1260 days are the same as mentioned in the `preceding chapter` and also foretold by `Daniel (12:7`) as 3-1/2 times (years). With the end of those 1260 years, Papacy's power to act--or execute for heresy, ended --1798. There the delusion that none could successfully war or contend with Papacy was shown, when Napoleon in defiance of the curse, took Pope Pius VI. a prisoner to Paris where he died. The dread of this BEAST has not been so great since, and the various horns (kingdoms) which once defended, have made war with the woman. (The dominion has been taken away.) (`Rev. 17:16`.)
Now we turn back again to see how this BEAST succeeded during its career of power. We read (`vs. 6`): "And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle, and those who tabernacle in heaven."
This BEAST power was a slur upon God and upon the true coming kingdom. `Verses 7 and 8` ("New Vers." "Diag." rendering poor.) "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them; and there was given to him authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation." [Papacy's authority as a spiritual empire or "kingdom of God,"--was generally acknowledged.] "And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him--every one whose name hath not been written in the book of life, of the Lamb that hath been slain from the foundation of the world."
The deception of Papacy was so complete that the World was deceived and all the church, except the overcomers, whose names were "written in heaven" were deceived in the same way, and hasted to unite themselves with, and to worship the BEAST, and have it enroll their names on its books. From this has sprung the delusion so common to all Protestants at this day --viz: That their names must be connected with some SUCH earthly church system, or they are not the Lord's saints. But, the important item is, to have our names recorded in the Lamb's book of life--His is the only record of any value.
"If any man hath an ear, let him hear." (`Vs. 9`.) Only those whose ears had been circumcised--those who had come to a considerable knowledge of God's word and who had the hearing of faith--to respect him and his word, despite the magnificence, success and power of error, would be able to receive the foregoing statements concerning those who were deceived
::R319 : page 7::
by Papacy: that they were of those unwritten in the true church, of which that was the counterfeit.
"If any one is for captivity, into captivity he goes away; if any one will kill with the sword, with the sword must he be killed. Here is the patient endurance and the faith of the saints." (`Vs. 10`.)
The Papal system was one of bondage. All who acknowledged its claims must of necessity render implicit obedience, as unto God; for it claimed to be the Kingdom of Heaven; and its head, the Pope, to be God's vicegerent; consequently those who were for, or in favor of such a captivity of individual thought, and who acknowledged the right of that Papal system to limit and define the faith of all, by consenting, became captives.
Many protestant sects have got into the same snare of the devil, and are vainly striving to make a dominion by blending church and state.
On the other hand, there were some who asserted that Papacy was a usurpation of the titles and power of the true head and ruler of the church, and claimed their right to the individual liberty wherewith Christ had made them free. Such used, the "sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God," in the defense of their liberty, and such were put to death by Papacy--it overcame the saints during its 1260 years of power. This was a severe test of true saintship--Would they go into captivity and join in the usurpers ranks, or would they remain faithful to the true king and wait for the kingdom which he promised to establish? Those whose names were written in heaven, stuck to the sword and sealed their testimonies by death.
THE TWO-HORNED BEAST.
"And I saw another wild beast ascending from the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon." (`Vs. 11`.) If the preceding wild beast represented an ecclesiastical power, as we have just seen, then this beast called another should be understood to represent a similar ecclesiastical or church power.
As the first beast had ten horns, or powers which gave it their strength and protection, so this beast has "two horns" which indicates that two powers or governments will support it.
B. Could this refer to Mohametanism?
A. No, I think not; this revelation was not given to be a general history of the world, but was a revelation given to the church, and relates to matters and things closely related to the church's history. There is no reason, for giving an account of Mohametanism; for the same reason that it would have been useless to give a history of Confucianism, or Buddhism. None of these were christian systems, and though they were all anti-christian, yet they were openly so and not so harmful to real christianity. Papacy on the contrary, is mentioned because it attempted to palm itself off as the kingdom of Christ and to deceive, while really, it was the Dragon or Roman Empire united to an apostacy.
Again, notice that this beast "ascended (came gradually) out of the earth," while the first one came out of the Sea. Now, if our definitions of these symbols be correct--as the coming of Papacy from among the irreligious masses of the Roman empire, was shown by its coming out of the "sea," then the coming of this second beast out of the "earth" should signify that it sprung up among a professedly religious people.
B. I see the force of this: But can it refer to any of the branches of the Protestant churches?
A. I understand that the wounding of the Papal head, (referred to in `vs. 3`,) by the sword, (`vs. 14`) refers to the Reformation work, when Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Knox, and others, by advocating the teachings of the Word of God, as opposed to the teachings of Papacy, showed that it was the system referred to in Revelations, and in Paul's writings called the "Mystery of Iniquity"--"Anti-Christ" --"The Man of Sin." They struck so mightily at this Papal head, that the system had well nigh died; but as the cause of the Protest-ants became more popular, the sympathies of some in power came to be exercised on their behalf. Soon various small German kingdoms (princedom's) were found on the side of the Reformers, and lent their sanction to them rather than to Papacy. Soon Belgium, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and others, withdrew all allegiance to their former head and RULER--the Pope; and though not acknowledging Luther, Calvin, or other, as a new head or spiritual emperor, they supported the various Reformation churches with state funds and protection. About this time also, (A.D. 1531) the church in England threw off her allegiance to Rome and became a separate ecclesiastical government. It thus followed exactly the example of Papacy, in blending civil with ecclesiastical power, and made the same person, Henry VIII. and his successors, head of all power.
The effect of this governmental favor upon the teachings of the reformers, can well be imagined. Once they had complained about empire and church being united in Papacy; had shown that the Virgin espoused to Christ awaiting His kingdom, was unfaithful to him (therefore termed a Harlot) when she united with, and leaned for support upon earthly powers. This part of their smiting with the "Sword of the Spirit," soon ceased, as they began to regard the favor and smile of earthly governments upon themselves. They could not consistently condemn in Papacy, what they themselves had come to enjoy and crave. It was their desire (lust) for power, name, and influence, to do a great work, and have many children, that led these daughters of Rome to follow the example of their mother--"Babylon the great, the mother of harlots." (`Rev. 17:5`.)
But, Brother B., do not forget that we are now talking of church SYSTEMS, and not of all who are under, or bound by, and serving those systems. We believe that the Lord has had dear children in all of these (Papal mother, as well as her daughters), who, in supporting them, verily think they do God service. This is the delusion which induced all but a few to respect the Papal BEAST as the
::R320 : page 7::
true empire of Christ, instead of waiting for "the Lord from heaven." From that ancient snare and deception of the devil, all the consecrated saints need to be liberated, and nothing but truth can liberate. The coming out of Babylon was commenced by the Reformers; but, as we have seen, their followers made only a brief journey, until to a great extent they fell into the same "snare of the fowler."
B. There are some who have evidently made more progress than those state churches you refer to in Europe. All the churches in U.S. of America are free and unsupported by the government.
A. Yes, knowledge and liberty in general are opponents of religious bondage and bigotry; but in many of these free organizations it is more because they cannot, than that they would not be supported by, and united to, civil power.
B. Well, now I am anxious to find proof of the second--the TWO HORNED BEAST. It cannot be all of those churches, can it? It must be some one church system, just as Papacy was one church system.
A. Exactly, it is one ecclesiastical system; and the two horns show that it is supported, and its authority recognized by two kingdoms.
B. Let me see: the Presbyterian church is the established church of Scotland, but of no other country; that would be but one horn. The Dutch Reformed church is the established church of a number of countries; that would be too many; and the same is true of the Lutheran.
A. Hold on, Bro. B.! You fall into a very natural mistake. Remember that to be simply aided, or supported by the empire does not make a symbolic "BEAST"; no, a BEAST is a government, and to become a symbolic beast, a church must needs become an element in, or part of the government. This was not the case in those you have mentioned. No, there is but one church which this symbol fits perfectly, viz.: The established "Church of England and Ireland." This system, like the Papal, was a blending of church and state-- an ecclesiastical empire.
In the year 1200 England became subject to the Pope. In 1531, owing to a dispute between her king, Henry VIII., and the Pope, England withdrew from allegiance to Papacy. The Convocation of its clergy, called the same year, in its decrees, declared King Henry VIII. to be "The one protector of the English Church, its only and SUPREME LORD; and as far as might be, by the law of Christ, ITS SUPREME HEAD." I quote the very words.
B. I am astonished; why those are the exact sentiments of Papacy; that is exactly the sense in which the Pope is recognized as Christ's Vicegerent. What a glorious representative of Jesus they had in Henry VIII., who, out of six wives, was divorced from two; beheaded two; and by many is supposed to have poisoned one. He was a worthy rival of some of the Popes as an Anti-christian claimant of headship to the church.
B. The reformation movement had not reached England at this time, and certainly it was much needed. The Clerical Convocation which could acknowledge such a head was certainly not far from being as corrupt as Papacy.
The fact that the title, "head of the church," was not an empty honor, may be judged from the historian's words--"At the same time it was ordained that no regard should be paid to censures which the Pope might pass on account of this law, and that Mass should be said and sacraments administered as usual. In 1534 all payments made to the apostolic chamber, and dispensations were abolished; monasteries were subjected to royal government, and exempted from all other; the right to summon Convocations, approve or reject canons [laws or doctrines enacted by the Convocation of clergy] and hear appeals from the Bishops, was vested in the King alone. Though now honored with the title of SUPREME HEAD OF THE CHURCH ON EARTH, Henry contemplated no change in the doctrines of the church; as then held. Indeed, it was not until 30 years or more after these steps, that the Roman Catholics and the Reformers [of the English Church] were looked upon as separate bodies, or had separate ministrations and separate places of worship."
Relative to the establishment of "the Church of England" as separate from the Papal church, another historian says: "Convocation declared that the Pope had no more authority in England, than any other bishop. The act of supremacy was passed, making Henry the head of the church, which act has been described as the epitome of all the measures which had been passed against the encroachments of the spiritual powers [of Rome] within and without the realm; and, as being at once, the symbol of the independence of England, and the declaration that thenceforth the civil magistrate was supreme within the English dominions over church as well as state."
B. I am inclined to think that these matters are very imperfectly understood by people in general. But are the same titles--"Supreme head of the church on earth," etc., still applied to English sovereigns?
A. Yes; and furthermore the crown worn shows the title, for it is surmounted by a cross. And the present "Great Seal of England," besides describing Victoria as the defender of the faith, illustrates it by a picture of the Queen, supported on either side by figures representing Justice and Religion, which sit at her feet. The Queen is shown as holding in her hand a globe (representing the earth), the upper half of which is light colored (representing Christianity), and this surmounted by a cross which in symbol declares her to be the supporter or head of the church universal.
This is the same exactly, as you see in the hands of the Popes in many pictures. It represents as a whole that this head of the church on earth, is the upholder, supporter of the truth.
Now, I need not remark that Jesus never gave this office to any one, but claims it himself; and any others who claim it are usurpers. Paul said: "Christ is the head of the church;" and that we are to "grow up into him in all things, which is the head even Christ." Again he repeats that God "gave Him to be the Head over all things to the church, which is His body." (`Eph. 1:22`; and `4:15`; and `5:23`; and `Col. 1:18`.) It is the church on earth that Paul is speaking of, hence any Pope, Queen, Council, Assembly, Conference, or any other man or company of men, who claim or exercise the powers of the true HEAD--Jesus, are opposing him. And all who support such by influence, presence, or money, are abettors of evil, and supporters of false SYSTEMS.
B. Now let us proceed--I am anxious to see whether this system (the English Church) fills the picture fully. The second BEAST had two horns; what two kingdoms (horns) supported this Church? Surely not Scotland; it has persistently refused its support and recognizes and supports the Presbyterian Church.
A. Don't forget the distinction we noticed between a church supported by a government, as in Scotland, and
::R320 : page 8::
a church united in the government, as in England--we have seen that it is the latter relationship which constitutes a BEAST.
Now let us see about the two horns: England of course was one of them, and I think I can give you satisfactory evidence that Ireland was the other. History says that in 1537 the Irish Parliament in Dublin "passed the act of supremacy, declaring Henry VIII. SUPREME HEAD OF THE CHURCH, prohibiting intercourse with the court of Rome, and making it treason to refuse the oath of supremacy." Henry VIII. also took the title of King of Ireland." Thus we see that the second horn came up within the brief space of five years after the first.
B. That fits well, indeed. The fact that Ireland was not a powerful horn matters not, for it was stronger than some that supported the Papal beast. I never saw a better case; surely we have, beyond a question, the SECOND BEAST, which has so puzzled all the commentators, though they saw clearly that Papacy was the Leopard. What effect results, from the disestablishment of the Church in Ireland?
A. From 1538 to 1871--333 years --the title of the church was "The Church of England and Ireland," thus recognizing both horns."
On January 1, 1871 (by action of parliament and the consent of the Queen, the head of the church) the Irish Church was disestablished, or that horn cast off. So, too, all of the horns which once supported Papacy have broken off from her; the difference being that in Papacy's case the horns have turned against her, and in the case of the second BEAST it casts off the Irish horn of itself, believing it to be a weakness rather than a strength. And it would not be at all remarkable if the second horn (England) would be separated from this beast (i.e., it would not be surprising if soon the church were to be separated from the state in England.) The "two horns like a lamb," would seem to indicate that this BEAST would be peaceably inclined--not inclined to be aggressive, but merely using the horns for defense.
B. I cannot see how the next part fits--He spake like the Dragon. This would seem to mark its utterances as being worse than Papacy's, which is not true.
A. But notice that it does not say the, but a dragon. We understand this to mean simply that its utterances resembled those of a purely civil (dragon) power, and in its words there would be little, to denote that it is an ecclesiastical government. All know how true this is.
"And all the authority of the first beast [Papacy] he executes in his presence [this shows that the second does not take the place of the first beast, but that they exist contemporaneously], and makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship [respect]
::R321 : page 8::
the first beast whose mortal wound was healed."
B. I can see, I think, how that verse was fulfilled. The Church of England claimed all the powers and authority which Papacy claimed. It claimed to be THE church; it acknowledged and repudiated some of the corruptions complained of by the reformers, such as the sale of indulgences, transubstantiation, etc., and abandoned those as well as the name Roman, for which they substituted the word HOLY, calling it the original "Holy Catholic Church." It claims the same governmental authority and the same veneration for its decrees as Papacy.*
And by establishing a similar system, devoid of some of the grosser Papal errors, it attracted attention of all to those errors, as being the only possible fault of Papacy. And when some of those errors were shortly after discarded by Papacy, the inference was that both BEAST systems were right. People at that day, as now, seemed to think those systems proper and right, if their powers, etc., were properly exercised; but from God's standpoint the systems are abominations, and wrong from the very centre.
The systems are based upon errors, and, like a corrupt tree, "cannot bring forth good fruit."
B. Name the principal error.
A. The very basis of both those systems, is their claim to be the "Kingdom of God" in reigning power. That idea once admitted justifies their persecution of individuals and nations, forcing them to submit and bow in obedience. Scripture accords those powers to the "kingdom of God"--when "the kingdom is the Lord's, and he is the Governor among the nations; all the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee." `Psa. 22:27,28`. He shall "dash them in pieces as a potter's vessel." `Psa. 2:9`. Unto him every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. (`Phil. 2:11`.) And if their claim be GOOD, who can object to them for carrying out the scriptural statements?
B. These Anti-christs, to make their claims of kingdom power appear true, had simply to take another step in compelling obedience, backing up their right to do so, by the Scriptures just quoted. And not only was this great evil sanctioned, but their claim once admitted, that the kingdom was established and the reign in progress, those who admitted it were hindered from looking for the true HEAD of the church; to set up the true kingdom under the whole heavens, which SHALL break in pieces present imperfect governments--establish righteousness in the earth and cause every knee to bow and every tongue to confess to the glory of God.
A. Yes, I agree with you; the next verses say, "And he does great signs, so that even fire he makes to come down from heaven to the earth in presence of men." (`Vs. 13`.) This government, like Papacy's claimed heavenly power, and its denunciations, were regarded as from heaven, judgments or fire being called down upon offenders.
"And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by the signs which it was given him to do in the presence of the [first] BEAST." (`Vs. 14`.) We make a distinction between the earth and those who dwell on it. As the EARTH symbolizes those obedient to and supporting the BEAST, so "those dwelling on the earth," we understand to mean independent Christians who do not support either of these systems.
THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST.
"Saying to them that dwell on the earth [independent companies of Christians] that they should make an IMAGE TO THE BEAST [Papacy], which had the wound by a sword and did live." She advised this by her example. From the year 1800 to 1846 was a time in which great numbers of new sects arose, whereas before that they were few and prominent. This gave rise to uneasiness among the various older denominations, who wondered whereunto this thing would lead. As the Bible came to be read more and more by the masses, occasional individuals would feel free to preach what they thought it taught, regardless of denominational creeds and the views of older sects. As a consequence Protestants were fast splitting up into fragments. They began to say, By what means shall we check and stop this disposition to individual thought and opinion relative to the teachings of Scripture? They wanted to stop the very thing God desired, viz.: that each individual should be free and independent of restraint, with his faith based, not on the views of others, not on the decisions of councils or presbyteries, nor in the decision of the Pope, nor in the things approved of the HEAD of the English Church, but in the WORD OF GOD.
The question came--How can we restrain these preachers? This was a quandary to all except the Roman and Episcopal Churches, since these both claimed the "Apostolic Succession," and that this by ordination, conferred upon their ministers special power and authority to preach and to administer the "Sacraments"; hence that no others had a right to do so, but were clerical pretenders. Other denominations could not claim this continuation of apostolic power through their preachers, but simply set them apart by prayer, consequently those of one denomination could not object, that the preachers of other denominations, as well as all laymen, were not as truly authorized of God to expound the Scriptures as their own clergy.
But the example of the church of England showed what a prestige she had by reason of the voice of authority with which she commanded a reverence for her clergy and her teachings. This teaching by example was not lost. The various denominations felt a necessity for some common STANDARD OF DOCTRINE which would be supported and upheld by all of them, and thus give prestige to their teachings, and bring the combined influence of all, AGAINST ANY FURTHER ADVANCE IN KNOWLEDGE or the development of any different phase of TRUTH. Thus they would protect themselves by being able to say--The combined opinion of all Protestants is against you; therefore you are HERETICS, and therefore we will shun you, and not call you brethren, but use all our influence against you.
This was done by the formation in 1846, of the "Evangelical Alliance." It was stated to be one of the objects of the Alliance (and we believe the principal one) to "Promote between the different EVANGELICAL denominations, an effective co-operation in the efforts to REPEL COMMON ENEMIES and DANGERS."
B. I do not understand you to oppose the Christians represented in that alliance, but their attempt to muzzle truth, and to prevent the opening up of any other truths buried by Papacy, than those which they had received.
A. Quite right, it is far from my wish to say they purposely combined against the unfolding of truth, nor would I say this of Papists. But I do say, that by their action they were following Papacy's tactics, and that in that Alliance they did make, the-- IMAGE OF THE BEAST.
And they have been in great measure successful. Very few denominations have sprung up since that Alliance put its measuring line upon men's minds, to decide what was, and what was not Evangelical, regardless of whether it be Scriptural or not. It has tended to make a separation clear and distinct between Clergy and Laity, as though they were of different races.
How much the IMAGE resembles the Papal BEAST may be judged from the fact that Papacy acknowledged the image--owned it as a creditable likeness--by the Pope's sending "GREETINGS" to the last meeting of the "Ev. Alliance"--1879. Strange to say the delegates to the Alliance had so far lost sight of the principles and doctrines which led to the protests against the Papal church, (that it was the Harlot church--Anti-Christ and Man of sin, mentioned in Scripture) that they actually felt FLATTERED by the Pontiff's notice, instead of becoming alarmed and examining how and WHY he who is "THE (chief) Antichrist," should feel pleased to greet them as follows. A prominent Presbyterian minister present at the above named meeting, mentioned the "Pope's Greeting" with evident pleasure and satisfaction, to the writer.
A prominent characteristic of the BEAST copied by the image is the honoring of the special class, the clergy, with special honors and titles. They are known as Revs., Divines, etc., but Jesus THE divine, said: "Ye call me Lord and Master, and ye say well, for so I am." "Be not ye called Rabbi, neither be ye called Master, for one is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren" (`Matt. 23:8`). These titles are assumptions fashioned after those of Papacy.
When the various denominations began their existence, more full of the spirit of Christ they claimed no such high sounding titles. The Reformers were not known as Rev.__________, D.D., &c., but as John Knox, Martin Luther, John Wesley, &c. Unpretentious, like Jesus and the Apostles, they were intent upon serving God and therefore became the servants (ministers) of the church. These had marks of God's approval, and as a result, their ministry was wonderfully blest. But now the clergy are far from being servants, they are Lords. They have itching ears, loving the approval of men. As pride and worldliness have come in, vital godliness and power have gradually departed.
For the very same reason, they are losing all power to expound the Word of God--the gift of teaching--because "God abhoreth the proud but giveth grace (favor) to the humble." The early reformers were humble, and God led them into much knowledge of His Word, and although we are much farther along "the path of the just," and the servants should have
*This superstition as to the authority of the Church of England is seen to-day, even among intelligent persons--New translations of the Scriptures are refused, and the King James' Version preferred, because forsooth it was authorized to be read by the mighty King James, the HEAD OF "THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND AND IRELAND."
::R322 : page 8::
more light, yet we find ministers of all denominations ready to confess their ignorance of the Word. They appeal for their information, back to the early reformers, and thus confess that they have less light than they. Pride always has hindered growth in grace and does now. "How can ye believe who receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor which comes from God, only?" That their light should grow dim
::R322 : page 9::
and their spiritual life become dwarfed is the natural result of their joining the IMAGE and subscribing to creeds made in the fifteenth century, which, like the iron shoe of China, will not admit of any growth. It is a shoe a little larger than Papacy put upon its followers, but of the same sort.
Papacy established the clerical hierarchy, who lord it over God's heritage instead of serving their brethren as Jesus explained--"One is your Master and all ye are brethren," and as Paul said--We are to speak the truth in love and "grow up into Him in all things who is the head, even Christ; from whom the whole body fitly joined together (not by creeds of men, but by love begotten by the one Spirit of truth) and compacted by that which every joint supplieth." (Every joint is every member, not the clergy only.) "Maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." Thus coming "to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God." `Eph. 4:15,16`.
As Papacy established the priesthood over the church, so Protestantism has established almost the same, and there is no opportunity for the body to edify itself, every joint taking part. True, there is a seeming show of liberty at prayer-meetings, etc., but it is only upon the surface, for the ordained pastor is to watch zealously lest anything contrary to the teachings of his church should be expressed, and if so to silence the audacious member at once, for the church creed is the rule, not the Word of God. If this is not sufficient, they must have a sort of church trial and excommunicate him ["kill him"]. The trial, by the way, gives evidence of another likeness to the beast, namely, the exaltation of the teachings of the organization above the Word of God, for all such are tried according to "the authorities" of their church.
"And it was given him [the two horned beast] to give life to the image of the Beast." (`Vs. 15`.)
It may not be known to many how much stress was laid upon the "Apostolic succession," which was supposed to be a virtue transmitted through hundreds of years of Papal corruption, by the laying on of the hands of Bishops. This, of course, was vested in the Roman church and also in the English church, on account of its being at first, rather a secession from Papacy, than a reformation.
To many minds, even among the clergy, there was a veneration for that ceremony, which neither Papacy nor the English Church were averse to promoting.
In the introduction of Methodism in the United States much difficulty was experienced because of Mr. John Wesley's superstition on this subject. He would not sanction the giving of the "Sacrament" by any except those ordained by the holy hands of an Episcopal Bishop. Thus up to 1784, Methodists could only partake of the Sacraments from Episcopal ministers (ordained). The independence war tended to make the Methodist preachers independent, and the expediency of taking the authority was discussed. John Wesley heard of this, and applied to the English Church to have at least one Methodist minister ordained for the American Church. Finally, in despair, he did the best he knew how to patch up an "apostolic succession." He with two other ministers (none of them bishops) ordained Thomas Coke to the office of Bishop, and from this sprang the office of Bishop in the M.E. Church.
I relate this only to show the superstition of even so great and good men as the Wesleys, on this subject.
Now, none of these allied sects had the succession except the Episcopal, and its recognition of the Alliance (Image) gave it vitality--breath-- authority, "That the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the IMAGE OF THE BEAST, should be killed." (`Vs. 15`.)
The worship and the killing are symbolic as well as the Image, and this signifies that all who will not bow to the decrees of the Evangelical Alliance shall be esteemed as heretics, shunned and cast out by all who are ORTHODOX, (?) i.e., all who worship its decrees and agree to believe neither more nor less than is stated in its nine articles of creed. Now the various sects have a sort of backing in this organization, and each may act as the mouthpiece of the Image, in denouncing as heresy, all matter not included in this general creed, and in cutting off or ecclesiastically beheading those who differ. (See `Rev. 20:4`.)
B. I see, and to be cut off from any one church now, implies dismemberment from all orthodox churches; which implies of course, that you are a heretic, and not at all a son of God.
A. Yes, to all who regard these earthly institutions as the real churches; but to those of us who regard only the heavenly organization, and who look for the smile of the true Head of the church only, and who accept His Word as the only limitation of faith and knowledge; such cannot worship either the BEAST or his IMAGE, after they come to realize it, but will "worship God" only.
IMAGE worship is hindering hundreds from seeing the beauties of the Word of God. They may perhaps glance at it, and for a moment think for themselves, but that is all. The church discipline is so strict, and they reverence it so much, that a look or frown is sufficient to warn them that independent thought is a dangerous thing, and must not be indulged in, lest they be regarded as infidels. Would that all could see that these local organizations called churches are not THE CHURCH, but that the Church of God includes all Christians, all whose names are written in Heaven, and that when these local organizations attempt to come between them as children, and God their Father, or to put their creed instead of the Word of God, their assumed authority is not to be recognized, nor tolerated; and that it is our duty to rebuke it as sinful.
"And he causes all, the little [humble] and the great, the rich and the poor, and the freemen and bondmen, that they should give themselves a mark on their right hand, or on their forehead; so that no one may be able to buy or sell unless he who has the MARK--the name of the beast or the number of his name." (`Vss. 16,17`.)
All classes of Christians must bow; all must, in some way, give evidence of their support of the Image and consecration to its interests and laws; either a public, open profession of being members of the alliance, and hence supporters (mark in forehead) or at least a giving of some assistance and influence to the principles of Image organization--(the right hand support).
B. How about the buying and selling?
A. That, like the other features, is symbolic: The buying and selling, refers to dealing in spiritual things. None may be recognized as having any right to teach or preach or baptize or administer the emblems of our Lord's death, except those LICENSED to do so by some orthodoX member of the Image. And acts of such persons are not counted valid.
B. Truly these things fit together wonderfully; nor should it surprise us that in giving an account of the church and its later times, all three of these great systems should be mentioned thus by our Lord. The English Church system is certainly a BEAST in the same sense as Papacy was, with the different characteristics noted; and the Evangelical Alliance is certainly a perfect IMAGE of it. It is what in politics or business would be termed a "ring"--a religious ring or monopoly, organized to hinder others from going into the work of truth seeking.
A. You will notice that this `17th verse` indicates that the name is the mark--the name of the Beast or the number of his name. "The `next verse` seems to indicate, that this name and number are, in some sense, a secret, and that it will indicate wisdom, or a correct knowledge of the foregoing symbols, if we are able to solve the mystery of the name which is symbolically given as 666." Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding [of the foregoing symbol, prove it by a proper application of the following number] compute the number of the Beast, for it is a man's number [or reckoned after a human manner]; and his number is 666.
"THE NAME OF THE BEAST, OR THE NUMBER OF HIS NAME."
B. Have you been able to descipher the name and number? I have heard of many who have tried all sorts of names and applications, but none of them ever seemed reasonable to me.
A. The same has been my difficulty. A little over a year ago I spoke on the subject of this same chapter to the name-less little company of "this way," in Lynn, Mass., and concluded my remarks by telling them that I had never seen a satisfactory explanation of the 666. And, though I thought I had given a correct analysis of the symbols of the chapter, yet I could not claim it to be wisdom, since I could not interpret the number. I suggested, however, that if ours be the correct understanding of the time in which we are living--the "harvest" of the age--and if our general application of these symbols be correct, the number should soon be understood. I urged examination on the subject by all, for the Lord is sometimes pleased to give wisdom through the weakest of his children. "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou hast ordained praise."
::R323 : page 9::
About three months after, I received a long letter from one of the thinking brethren of that place, saying that he thought he had the key; and I think he has; it certainly fits the lock in every particular. I will give it to you very much as he suggested it. His process of reasoning was as follows:
Jesus, who gave this revelation to us (`Rev. 1:1`), well knew that this symbol could not be understood until about the present time, for the reason that the Image was only made in 1846. Jesus also knew, of course, that English would be the language used by probably four-fifths of his earnest truth-seeking children, in the "time of the end." He knew, also, that not many wise, not many great, not many learned in all languages would be of the chosen "little flock." Moreover, it was his custom to adapt his teachings to the "common people," and of this sort his Jewels have been from, the twelve disciples and since.
Therefore it would appear that the number 666, should be open to the comprehension of us all--we being the ones told to count--as much so as were the other symbolic numbers of Danl. and Rev. Let us try, then, to apply these figures in English.* [This is the first application in English, known to the writer, but the reasonableness of it is obvious.]
First, then, the number is that of the [first] BEAST. Let us see whether it will apply to some of its names, That system which Paul calls the man of sin is the
Roman Catholic power = 666.
123456 123456 123456
He is in Revelation called a BEAST
Roman Catholic "Beast" = 666.
The system is also called the "woman" (`Rev. 17:18`)
Roman Catholic "woman" = 666.
She calls herself the
"Holy Catholic Church" = 666.
She is really and truly (`Rev. 17:5`)
"The Mother of Harlots" = 666.
Thus we see that the number fits the BEAST well.
The second BEAST was anxious to have exactly the same name, and in fact it claimed to have the pre-eminent right to the name--
"Holy Catholic church," = 666.
Other names by which it is often known, are--
"English State Church," = 666.
"The Episcopal Church," = 666.
"Episcopalian Church," = 666.
"The Church of England," = 666.
This application of the number, will doubtless appear to some too simple to be accepted, but thus God ever deals with us--hiding truth under the vail of its own simplicity, so that it may appear to the Greek (worldly wise) foolishness, but unto them which believe (not to those who believe without evidence, but who believe on the strongest kind of evidence --the harmony of His Word) the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (`1 Cor. 1:23`.)
The Image causes all who claim relationship, or whom it recognizes, as having a right to buy or sell-- teach--to have as a creed, that which shall mark them as having either "the name" of the BEAST, or the "number" of his name--666. Many take the name and in their creeds recite, "I believe in the
"Holy Catholic Church" = 666.
Among those who thus openly mark themselves in their forehead (by their creeds) are Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians and others. But others give a seeming support (mark in their hand) to the general principal by organizing under various sectarian names. After these are blended in the IMAGE, (and no one would be admitted to membership in the Evangelical Alliance, unless he be a member of some such sect), they all are collectively known as the
"Protestant Churches," = 666. Which we see contains the Beast's number.
If we for instance were to organize, though we protest more than all others against the errors of Rome, and
*In the common version and in the more modern Greek texts, this number is spelled out, six hundred and sixty-six; but in the ancient Greek MSS. the numerals are used, 666.
::R323 : page 10::
also against the errors of the Image and second BEAST, yet we would not be reckoned one of the "Protestant churches," because we would not be recognized as orthodox--They would not count our organization a church.
Should you inquire for our meetings and ask--Is that a protestant church which meets here? the answer would come--Oh, no; they are not Evangelical. They have no creed to mark them, so that the Alliance can decide whether they are an Evangelical Protestant Church or not.
B. This does truly seem wonderful. I can see how some have it in their foreheads, making manifest by their creeds, forms, and titles, that which marks them as being partakers of some of the abominations of system and doctrine, which for centuries has been the mark of the Leopard BEAST.
I can see, too, as I never saw before, that many of the mightiest WORKERS in the nominal church are working for their own section, arm or branch of this Image. I can see how much of what purports to be WORK FOR JESUS, may in reality, be devotion and sacrifice to the building up of a sect, or the carrying out of some humanly imposed burden.
But I think we should always discriminate between the SYSTEMS, and those dear ones, some of whom seem to possess so much of the Spirit of Christ, who are bound by them.
A. I fully agree with you; the distinction should be always remembered. But let me say that I think quite a good many, are still connected with and lending their names and influence to these organizations, which are BEAST marked, who are in heart out of all sympathy with them, and who hate as anti-Christ, every system which would in any sense take the place of the true HEAD of the church; and who will neither worship Conferences, Presbyteries, or Popes, but who "worship God." These, however, are fast becoming aware that membership in the true church, (whose names are written in heaven,) is in no way affected by the disfellowship of the various human organizations, each calling itself the true church. They are learning too, that the true communion of saints and union of hearts, is dependent, not on creeds to bind together as members of ONE BODY, but on love and common interest in the HEAD and in each other, in whom we find the head's spirit of love and obedience to the Father's word.
B. I know that you believe the Jewish Church to have been a picture or shadow of the nominal Gospel Church. Do you find any parallel to this Image worship in the shadow?
A. Yes, Israel was carried captive to Babylon; there an Image was set up, and all were commanded to worship it.
We have heretofore seen that Babylon, to be a type, or shadow of the nominal church. It is for this reason that the name Babylon is applied to it in Revelation. Papacy's was the greatest confusion or mixture of church and world, but all the reforms have been but partial, and the reformed churches are in much of the same confused (Babylon) condition. Papacy was "Babylon the GREAT" (`Rev. 17:5`), but in the time of "HARVEST" the Lord calls the entire system BABYLON. Here, as in the shadow, the command first comes for all to worship the HEAD of Babylon (Papacy), and afterward an IMAGE was made, and all were commanded to worship it. In the first type, Daniel alone refused to worship any but the true God. (`Dan. 6:7`.) In the second type there were more-- the three "Israelites indeed," refused to worship the Image. (`Dan. 3:18`.) So, too, the number of true ones who are not worshiping the Image now, are probably three to one, who did not worship the Beast. For their refusal they were bound and cast into a fiery furnace. So here those who do not worship the IMAGE are bound, hindered, their influence circumscribed, and they are speedily in a "FIERY FURNACE"--of tribulation, either in their families or communities or in their business. In the words of Revelation--they are killed and hindered from buying and selling. But behold, they were unharmed by the fire; it will soon be manifest to all, that they are not bound, and furthermore that there is with them the form of the FOURTH. Yes, the HEAD--the TRUE HEAD is with those who will not bow when all others bow; who heed not the enchanting music of the hour; these are overcomers. (See `Dan. 3:6`.)
As in the type deliverance came, so in the antitype, deliverance will fully come--the first resurrection glory--to those who have "not worshiped the BEAST, neither his IMAGE, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands; and THEY lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years--this is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that have part in the first resurrection." `Rev. 20:4-6`.
B. O, my brother, I realize that the victor, in God's sight, is no half-hearted, no half-consecrated one, but one willing and glad to follow the Word of his God, and trust in it though opposed by all the Scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites--those who will be tested in their love and respect for God by the strongest attachments, and yet prove themselves faithful by overcoming.
A. Yes, brother--
::R323 : page 10::
Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone;
Dare to have your purpose firm,
And dare to make it known."
::R324 : page 10::
RANSOM OR PARDON--WHICH?
The failure to discern the distinction between ransom and pardon, has led to much confession of faith. Christian people of general intelligence will quote texts relative to our being ransomed from the tomb, redeemed from death, bought with a price, even the precious blood of Christ, etc., and in the same breath they speak of the Father's gracious pardon of all offences. Seemingly few seem to think, for many must know, that pardon and ransom, express exactly opposite thoughts.
Webster defines ransom, to mean-- "to redeem from captivity, or to forfeit by paying an equivalent."
His definition of redeem, is--"to purchase back, to regain possession of by paying of a stipulated price."
His definition of Pardon is--"to remit the penalty" or "to suffer to pass without punishment"--"to refrain from exacting a penalty."
The most ordinary thinker must see, that these words are as opposite as could be; all can see that both could not be true of the same thing. If Jesus did redeem us--ransom us, by paying an equivalent, thus purchasing the release from death, then our Father did not PARDON us; that is, He did not suffer our sins "to pass without punishment," but "Laid upon Him (Jesus) the iniquity of us all." (`Isa. 53:6`.) Then God did not (pardon), remit the penalty; for "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures." (`1 Cor. 15:3`.)
The general difficulty seems to be, that people use the words, forgive and pardon, as though they were the same, whereas they are not so: Webster's primary definition of FORGIVE is--to give away, to make over, to resign, "to cease to feel resentment against," or, "to cease to impute" --to remit. Webster also gives, as a secondary meaning of forgiveness, the generally accepted sense--pardon. But note the difference in the primary meaning of the words: Pardon "refrains from exacting a penalty" while forgiveness signifies much less, viz., that a claim is made over to some one else. Thus Jehovah sold or "made over" or resigned to Jesus, the claims of Justice on mankind; and thus Jesus bought us with his own precious blood. Thus we see, too, that when "we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son," it was because he forgave us, i.e., "ceased to feel resentment against" us (Web. def.) because our ransom price had been paid as provided by himself, who so loved us that he gave His son to redeem us. Thus, too, "God was in Christ RECONCILING the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." The sins had been imputed to mankind, until Jesus died, then God FORGAVE i.e., "ceased to impute," (Webster's def.) to us, what had been paid by our RANSOM.
Now mark clearly that God did not PARDON, i.e., "refrain from exacting the penalty," but "Laid upon Him (Jesus) the iniquity of us all." He bore our sins (penalty) in his own body on the tree. (`1 Pet. 2:24`.) And now we see how God forgave us freely for CHRIST'S SAKE, i.e., because He paid the penalty which was the full satisfaction of Justice.
Not that God desired to destroy men and Jesus appeased his wrath; no, God's love for the world was the cause of the redemption or purchase. "God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son" to purchase --redeem them. Yes, the whole plan is of God. (`Rom. 11:36`.)
But it should not be supposed, that God compelled the just one to die for the unjust. No, Justice could not inflict punishment upon one for another's sin. The Scriptures declare --He laid down his life, of himself; not for fear of Divine wrath; not because compelled; but for the joy that was set before him, (the Father's promises of high exaltation to glory, honor, and immortality: and for the joy of redeeming and restoring mankind and of bringing many sons to glory) HE ENDURED THE CROSS. `Heb. 12:2`.
Now notice, the Greek words-- Apoluo, Aphiemi, and Aphesis, translated --forgiveness, forgiven, and forgive, in the New Testament, have the same significance as the corresponding English words: or as given by Young--"To let go," or "to send away." Mark well, it does not mean as some seem to infer--to send away without an equivalent. It does not mean that God will let go the sinner unconditionally. But God will let go the prisoners out of death, because he has found a RANSOM. (`Job 33:24`.)
Yes, Jesus gave himself a RANSOM (an equivalent price) for all: (`1 Tim. 2:6`.) Therefore, "all that are in their graves (prisoners in the pit) shall hear his voice and come forth.
Though the word pardon does not occur in the New Testament, a Greek word of nearly the same meaning does occur, viz: Karazomai--It signifies, to forgive freely. We will give some illustrations of the use of this word, from which you will see that it does not oppose but confirms our statements, that our Father does not pardon, or unconditionally set sinners free, from sin's penalty. (The words forgive and forgave as translated from this word Karazomai occur in all, only twelve times.)
"Forgiving one another...even as Christ forgave you." (`Col. 3:13`.) "When they had nothing to pay he frankly forgave them both." "He to whom he forgave most." (`Luke 7:42 and 43`.) Here are four instances in which it is FREE forgiveness, or PARDON. But notice it is not Jehovah, but Christ and the disciples who do the free forgiving. Jesus was in the very act of paying the ransom price of both Simon, Mary, and others, and realizing that Justice would be satisfied by his act, he, as the purchaser, could freely forgive them.
We wish that all our readers might hereafter be able to appreciate the difference between pardoned and forgiveness, or reconciliation toward us as based on our "redemption through his (Jesus') blood." (`Col. 1:14`.) All will admit that God is JUST; and if so, he did not inflict too severe a sin penalty on man when he deprived him of life. Now, if that penalty was just, 6000 years ago, it is still a just penalty, and will be just for all coming time. If the penalty was too severe, and God pardons the sinner from further continuance of the penalty, it proves that God was then, or is now UNJUST. If it was right 6000 years ago to deprive mankind of life because of sin, it would be always wrong to restore the life, unless the sin were paid for--canceled. This could only be accomplished by another being of the same kind, whose right to life was unforfeited, giving himself as a substitute or ransom.
It is written: "There is none righteous --no, not ONE." Therefore none, in the sight of justice, have a right to life; and God could not justly give pardon and life to those whom his own Justice had already condemned; to do so, would be to make Mercy and Love over-ride Justice, and such a warfare is not supposable in God's attributes. No, if the Love and Mercy of God would benefit men, it must be done in harmony with Justice. And it was; LOVE provided the ransom (`1 John 4:10`.) And MERCY uses the same ONE [Christ, head and body] as its agent in blessing the world of men.
"Forever firm Thy JUSTICE stands,
As mountains their foundations keep."
This very principle of JUSTICE which underlies all of our Father's doings is the ground of our strong confidence in all his promises.
Our Father declares that He is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever; with Him is no variableness at all, neither shadow of turning. (`Jam. 1:17`.) If He were so changeable as to condemn to a penalty in Adam's day, and 6000 years after to revoke and annul His own decision, what security could we have that in 6000 years, more or less, He might not change again, and remand us to the prison-house of death by REVOKING THE PARDON of some or of all. And we have no foundation for hope, except in the fact that Christ died for us.